‘Hi-Flyer’ Pawan Sehrawat was at his brilliant best at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday during Bengaluru Bulls’ slender 40-39 win over Patna Pirates. Sehrawat’s burst in the dying moments of the game helped rescue victory from the jaws of defeat for the defending champions.
The opening 10 minutes saw Patna Pirates’ defence dominate Bengaluru Bulls’ raiders with both Sehrawat and skipper Rohit Kumar finding it hard to get going. However, Bengaluru Bulls’ defence was also looking sharp and an Amit Sheoran Super Tackle on ‘Record-Breaker’ Pardeep Narwal ensured that the score was level at 7-7 after the first quarter of the game.
The three-time champions though had the upper hand in the next few minutes after Pardeep found his rhythm and cleaned up Bengaluru Bulls’ defenders. They took a 13-7 lead after inflicting an All-Out in the 13th minute and extended their advantage to 17-9 a few minutes later following a four-point Super Raid by Pardeep. The hosts launched a fightback towards the end of the half, but back-to-back Super Tackles by Patna Pirates meant that they were trailing 16-22 at the break.
Two more Super Tackles by Patna Pirates at the start of the second half continued to thwart Bengaluru Bulls’ momentum and prevented them from enforcing an All-Out. The three-time winners then wrestled back the initiative from the hosts and soon had more men on the mat than Bengaluru Bulls. The reigning champions though kept trying and didn’t let the scoreboard pressure get the better of them.
Even though Patna Pirates were looking in a good position with a 29-20 lead at one stage, Bengaluru Bulls wouldn’t go down without a fight and with the support of their fans, scored six unanswered points to make it a three-point game. Numerous successful raids by Pardeep delayed Bengaluru Bulls from enforcing an All-Out, but the reigning champions finally managed to do so and cut Patna Pirates’ lead to 37-33 with three and a half minutes remaining.
With confidence now coursing through their veins, successful raids by Sehrawat as well as skipper Rohit in tandem with solid defending made it a one-point game in the penultimate minute. A two-point raid by Sehrawat in the next minute then made it 38-38 before a successful tackle by Rohit and another successful raid by the Hi-Flyer gave their team the lead and the win.
Bengaluru Bulls –
Best Raider – Pawan Sehrawat (17 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Mahender Singh (5 Tackle Points)
Patna Pirates –
Best Raider – Pardeep Narwal (14 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Hadi Oshtorak (5 Tackle Points)